Garages are often an overlooked wealth of potential living space. Using a garage for living space can mean giving up the entire garage, or just a portion of it. It is important to evaluate your needs and decide the best way to use this space.
A two-car garage can become additional living space, as well as still be a garage. You can split the garage in half and build a wall. Choose to use the half closest to the home for living space as this is just more practical. One you have the wall up, it is like adding an additional room and still having a garage space to park cars, store things or anything else you used your garage for. The new space created from your garage can be used as a spare bedroom office space, family room or anything else that you want to add to your home.
Converting a garage will take a few extra steps. It is not like any other room in the home where you can just change paint and floors and then add furniture. First, if your garage and home are on different ground heights, you may need to raise the floor a bit. This will prevent things like water from seeping into your new space. You also need to assess insulation, security, heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electricity. You will want the space to be functional all throughout the year, so all of these are necessary to make this happen.
Know Local Building Regulations
Since this is a remodel, your area may require certain permits before you can start work. This is especially true when things like electricity are involved because they often have to be inspected for safety and to ensure that it was installed properly. You can find phone numbers are addresses for your local office that handles permits.
Which Room Do You Want?
Once you have the practicalities and regulation rules all hashed out, it is time for the fun stuff. You will start to plan your room. Do you need an office? How about a family room? This room can become anything that you want it to. Now, before you head to the hardware and furniture stores, it is time to plan your room. You should measure the space and note what the exact dimensions are. This is critical because not having exact figures can cause problems down the road. You should also sketch out things like furniture placement so that you have a rough idea of how things will go.
Getting the Lighting Right
Most garages are not the richest sources of natural light. This is where you have to decide on the right lighting strategy. You can install windows, but this can get pricey and require a professional. If windows are outside of the work you want to do, the right lights can get the job done. Recessed lighting is always a good option because it offers adequate brightness without being overpowering. It also takes up no space, making it ideal for rooms that are a little smaller in size.
If your garage is not attached to your home, you can still use it for extra living space. Some people choose to create an art studio, an office separate from the home, a small guest space or even a fully equipped gym. You would follow the same regulations and consider the same practicalities as you would with an attached garage. The nice thing about this is that you can choose to leave the regular garage door on and then open it in the nice weather for a nice indoor/outdoor feel. The possibilities are truly endless.
About the Author: Jerry Davidson has been writing about home design and remodeling for nearly ten years. He specializes in garage doors and roll-up counter doors.